- Controls inflammation.
- Combats foreign bacteria.
- Extends remission time.
Vitamin D3 has been confirmed to help people afflicted with the debilitating symptoms of Crohn’s disease. The active form of vitamin D is able to maintain proper functioning of the immune system and acts as the body’s first defense against microbial invaders. This lack of defence can lead to an increased inflammatory response, which promotes the development of Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease, which currently affects approximately one in 400 people in the western world, is currently incurable so patients mainly seek to control the symptoms of the disease. Crohn’s disease is caused by a defect in innate immune handling of intestinal bacteria that leads to an inflammatory response that may lead to an auto-immune condition.
Scientists have linked two genes to Crohn’s disease, the beta defensin 2 gene, which plays a key role in the production of antimicrobial proteins, and the NOD2 gene, which alerts cells to the presence of invading microbes.
The researchers found that if NOD2 is deficient or defective, it cannot combat invaders in the intestinal tract, and that vitamin D was important for switching on the genes to help reduce the risk of Crohn’s disease. The genetics of Crohn’s disease demonstrate that NOD2 insufficiency contributes to development of the disease.
[pullquote_left]“This discovery is exciting, since it shows how an over-the-counter supplement such as Vitamin D could help people defend themselves against Crohn’s disease,” [/pullquote_left]
Professor Marc Servant from the Université de Montréal observed that “This discovery is exciting, since it shows how an over-the-counter supplement such as Vitamin D could help people defend themselves against Crohn’s disease,”
Vitamin D refers to two biologically inactive precursors – D3, also known as cholecalciferol, and D2, also known as ergocalciferol. The former, produced in the skin on exposure to UVB radiation is said to be more bioactive.
While our bodies do manufacture vitamin D3 on exposure to sunshine, the levels in some northern countries are so weak during the winter months that our body makes no vitamin D3 at all, meaning that dietary supplements and fortified foods are seen by many as the best way to boost intakes of vitamin D3.
[box_info] Vitamin D3 and Crohns Disease.